Reason Why Advertising vs “Image” Advertising
At the beginning of XXI century, companies take extreme care when formu¬lating and executing sales promotions and advertising campaign. In some emerging markets, advertising efforts can raise eyebrows if companies appear to be exploiting regulatory loopholes and lack of consumer resistance to intrusion. Advertising is defined as any sponsored, paid message that is communicated in a nonpersonal way. Some advertising messages are designed to communicate with persons in a single country or market area. Some advertising campaigns are created for audiences across several country markets such as Europe or Latin America, and can be defined as messages whose art, copy, headlines, photographs, tag lines, and other elements have been developed expressly for their worldwide suitabil¬ity.
Advertising has a great influence on the society as it is often designed to add psychological value to a product or brand, it plays a more important communications role in marketing consumer products than in marketing industrial products. Advertising can control the circulation of ideas about a particular product.
Frequently purchased, low-cost products generally require heavy advertising support to remind consumers about the product. Not surprisingly, consumer products companies top the list of big advertising spenders. IBM, Tesco, M&S just a few of the companies with significant advertising expendi¬tures.
The message of advertisement must be encoded, conveyed via the appropriate channels, and decoded by the customer-receiver. Communication takes place only when meaning is transferred. Three main difficulties can compromise an organization’s attempt to com¬municate with customers: (1) the message may not get through to the intended recipient. This problem may be the result of an advertiser’s lack of knowledge about appropriate media for reaching certain types of audiences. For example, the effectiveness of television.
(2) The message may reach the target audience and may be understood but still
may not induce the recipient to take the action desired by the sender. This could
result from a lack of cultural knowledge about a target audience. (3) The effectiveness of the message can be impaired by “noise” which means external influence such as competitive advertising, other sales personnel, and confusion at the receiving end. These factors can detract from the ultimate effectiveness of the communication.
Before the WWII period, David Ogilvy was one of the most well-known persons in advertising industry. His work and ideas of David Ogilvy was influenced by such famous figures as John Caples Claude Hopkins, and Raymond Rubicam. He foresaw new trends in advertising and emphasized the importance of salesman-ship-in-print philosophy before Albert Lasker. He wrote: “You have only 30 seconds [in a TV commercial]. If you grab attention in the first frame with a visual surprise, you stand a better chance of holding the viewer. People screen out a lot of commercials because they open with something dull … ” When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire.” (Ogilvy 1985, cited “Advertising” 2004).
In the post-war period, two main forms of advertising, “image” and “reason why” advertising appeared. Both types have some advantages and disadvantages. In general, it is possible to say that image and “reason why” advertising are used by the companies to deliver different messages to their target audience.
“Reason why” advertising school combines the features of two different philosophies: “Rational” advertising and “Unique Selling Proposition”. The rationale means that people are motivated and persuaded to buy the products. Obviously, this approach does not take cultural considerations into account. The advertising appeal is the communications approach that relates to the motives of the target audience. For example, ads based on a rational approach depend on logic and speak to the audience’s intellect. Ads using an emotional approach appeal to the heart of the intended audience. In other words, some ads use a knowledge-based appeal whereas others appeal to feelings. Unique Selling Proposition is the promise or claim that captures the reason for buying the product or the benefit that ownership confers.
Because products are frequently at different stages in their life cycle in various national markets, and because of cultural, social, and economic dif¬ferences that exist in those markets, the most effective appeal or selling proposition for a product may vary from market to market. Rosser Reeves, the top account man at Ted Bates and representative of “reson-why” school created a well-known phrase “Unique Selling Proposition”. This took place in the mid of 1950s, and since that time has been widely used by advertising professionals. “Unique Selling Proposition” means that “promoting one key feature and benefit of any brand for years and years and years would cut through the clutter of advertising and build an unassailable position in the consumer’s mind” (unique selling proposition – debunked!, 2003). Today, unique selling proposition method of advertising does not work well.
According to Reeves the aim of this method is “getting a message into the heads of most people at the lowest possible cost” (Rothenberg, 2005). As an example of Reeves successful slogans is “Wonder Bread helps build strong bodies 12 ways,” publicly boasted how one client spent $86.4 million in 10 years “on one piece of my copy.” (cited Rothenberg, 2005).
The audience of “Reason why” advertising is uneducated but not stupid people. For this reason, it appeals to logic of a potential consumer. The gurus of “Reason why” advertising are John E. Powers, John E. Kennedy and Albert Lasker, Claude Hopkins, and Rosser Reeves. “Copy” was the technique created by John E. Kennedy and also called “Salesmanship-In-Print”. “Kennedy’s experience with The Regal Shoe Company, Post Grape Nuts, Postum Coffee, and Dr. Shoop’s Family Medicine Co. proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he truly had isolated that fundamental concept” (Reason-why advertising, 2005).
To evaluate the response of a “reason-why” advertising campaign quantitative research is used. Also, coupons, samples, advertise sales and measure the response help the company to reach its target audience and increase sales. The armory of communication techniques at the organization’s dis¬posal, which might be used singly or in combination, can be blended together into an effective and persuasive communications mix. Zealotry, which implies, according to Bob Garfield, knowable and formulaic, plays a crucial role in “Reason why” advertising.
In contrast, “image” advertising school is designed to enhance the public’s perception of a company, create goodwill, or announce a major change such as a merger or acquisition. It is based on emotional and aesthetic appeal and ahs an impact on consumers’ imagination. The main figures which played a significant role in “image” advertising school developmentwere Helen Lansdowne Resor, Earnest Elmo Calkins, Theodore MacManus, Bill Bernbach, Mary Wells Lawrence.
Bill Bernbach is considered the “creator” of “image” advertising. According to Bernbach the main concepts of this type include: “1. appeal to the heart instead of the head, reach people through their feelings; 2. Soyez Différent (Be Different), 3. Be Relevant, 4. Advertising is an intrinsic part of the product!, 5. Be Credible!, 6. Advertising is not a science, it’s an art!, 7.Don’t be a follower, be a leader!, 8, 9. Be Provocative and Take a stand. (Top Ten people, 1996).
The good example of image advertising is the Boeing ads which were part of a European print cam¬paign launched in 1997 to enhance Boeing’s image by raising awareness of the num¬ber of jobs the company created locally. Following the merger of Daimler and Chrysler in the fall of 1998, a series of full-page print ads announced the formation of the new company. Global companies frequently utilize image advertising in an effort to present themselves as good corporate citizens in foreign countries.
In contrast to “reason why” advertising “image” advertising can be used “for large, widely known companies, but it’s not a cost-effective technique for smaller companies without widespread name recognition” (Moses, 2005). In his article, Moses explains that “reason why” advertising (he calls it informative) should be used by smaller companies. The ads of this type allow the company to put “specific information about their products and services, the benefits of buying their products and perhaps even a little about the company” (Moses, 2005).
Effective image advertising requires developing different presentations of the product’s appeal or selling proposition. In other words, there can be differences between what one says and how one says it. Many alternatives are available including straight sell, scientific evidence, demonstration, comparison, testimonial, slice of life, animation, fantasy, and dramatization.
John O’Toole defined the big idea as a flash of insight that synthesizes the purpose of the strategy, joins the product benefit with consumer desire in a fresh, involving way, brings the subject to life, and makes the reader or audience stop, look, and listen (McDonald, Christopher, 2003).
Taking into account the information mentioned above and the development of each type it is possible to say that there is no universal type for all products. Today, “reason-why” and “image” advertising are used for promotion different categories of products trying to find the best way to reach their audience. For instance, “reason-why” advertising is usually used for pharmaceuticals, technology and packaged goods campaigns. The responsibility for deciding on the appeal, the selling proposition, and the appropriate execution lies with creative.
Nevertheless, this type of advertising gives lower response with cosmetics, clothing and cigarettes. The visual presentation of an advertisement is more important than logic zealotry-like message. Also, some forms of visual presentation are universally understood. Revlon, for example, has used a French producer to develop television commercials in English and Spanish for use in international markets. These commercials are filmed in Parisian settings but commu¬nicate the universal appeals and specific benefits of Revlon products. By producing its ads in France, Revlon obtains effective television commercials at a much lower cost than it would have paid for commercials produced in the United States.
PepsiCo has used four basic commercials to communicate its advertising themes. The basic setting of young people having fun at a party or on a beach has been adapted to reflect the general physical environment and racial characteristics of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The music in these commercials has also been adapted to suit regional tastes. Other examples of image advertising include Nokia’s pur¬chase of full-page newspaper ads to congratulate Florida for winning the 1997 Sugar Bowl. The ads also mentioned the Nokia Sweepstakes, which featured a million-dollar prize if a contestant could throw a football through an inflated cellular phone at a distance of about ten yards.
Of course, the success of this approach will depend in part on avoiding unintended ambiguity in the ad copy. Then again, in some situations, ad copy must be translated into the local lan¬guage. Translating copy has been the subject of great debate in advertising circles. Advertising slogans often present the most difficult translation problems. The chal¬lenge of encoding and decoding slogans and tag lines in different national and cul¬tural contexts can lead to unintentional errors. Virgin Airlines represents an example of “reason why” advertising. Japanese car marketers create a public relations campaign designed to convince Clinton that new taxes will not bring benefits neither to Japanese exporters nor the USA.
To conclude, half a century experience of advertising prove the fact that both “reason-why” and “image” type of advertising are usefully tools to build the bridge between audience and a marketer. They are used for different products to create temporal and worldly, and an image, powerful and lasting effect.
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